TECHNICAL ADVANCES: A maximum-likelihood relatedness estimator allowing for negative relatedness values


Dr Dmitry Konovalov, Fax: +617 4781 4029; E-mail:


Previously reported maximum-likelihood pairwise relatedness (r) estimator of Thompson and Milligan (M) was extended to allow for negative r estimates under the regression interpretation of r. This was achieved by establishing the equivalency of the likelihoods used in the kinship program and the likelihoods of Thompson. The new maximum-likelihood (ML) estimator was evaluated by Monte Carlo simulations. It was found that the new ML estimator became unbiased significantly faster compared to the original M estimator when the amount of genotype information was increased. The effects of allele frequency estimation errors on the new and existing relatedness estimators were also considered.